Vet sector deserves Minister's urgent attention

Sharon Bird, Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, today called on Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane to start giving priority to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector as issues in the sector arise.

An article in The Australian today identified a range of reports on the VET sector, in particular a report from the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) into Marketing and advertising practices of Australia’s registered training organisations

The ASQA report identified that almost half of Australian colleges surveyed were in breach of deceptive marking practices, collecting fees in advance in excess of permitted levels and enrolling students into superseded or obsolete courses.

“While Minister Macfarlane has a lot on his plate with the Industry portfolio, particularly as he tries to stop his Cabinet colleagues from axing thousands of manufacturing jobs, there have been a number of reports recently which need to be addressed.  The quality provision of training and sustainability of the sector is too critical to put on the backburner,” Sharon Bird said.

“VET is a critical area of education and directly linked to participation and productivity. It is imperative that the Abbott Government give it the priority and attention it deserves to ensure that we provide skilled workers for the future.

“We need to ensure that we have a strong public provider in TAFE and quality assurance across all providers, including the private sector, particularly in light of ASQA’s recent report.

“While the VET industry is fortunate not to fall within the responsibility of Education Minister Christopher Pyne following his appalling handling of school funding, the industry is suffering from neglect by the Industry Minister,” Sharon Bird said.

“In Government, Labor made a record $19 billion investment in skills and training for smarter jobs and a stronger nation.   The VET sector plays a vital role in shaping our economy and to help Australians secure a job and earn a decent income.

“I call on the Minister to start giving VET some attention by engaging with the sector and responding to ASQA’s recommendations for better regulator in the VET sector,” Sharon Bird concluded.